Measure For Measure: The Folio of 1623: Quarto of 1623 (Shakespearean Originals - First Editions)

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9780133553970: Measure For Measure: The Folio of 1623: Quarto of 1623 (Shakespearean Originals - First Editions)

The Shakespearean Originals Series takes as its point of departure the question: "What is it that we read Shakespeare?" The answer may seem self-evident: we read the words that Shakespeare wrote. But do we? In the case of all the major editions of Shakespeare available in the market, the fact of the matter is that many of the words that we read in an edition of, say, Hamlet, never appeared in the text as it was printed during or shortly after Shakespeare's own lifetime. They are the interpetations and interpolations of a series of editors who have been systematically changing Shakespeare's text from the eighteenth century onwards.

This volume offers the text of Measure for Measure, as printed in the 1623 First Folio.

"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.

Review:

A dark and difficult play, Measure for Measure has been a popular play since the latter half of the 20th century for its prescient dramatisation of the issues of sexual and political hypocrisy, and the ways in which the state interferes in the private lives of its citizens. Set in Duke Vincentio's Vienna, where poverty, disease and prostitution are rife, Claudio and his fiancée Juliet are arrested for having sex before marriage, and Claudio is sentenced to death. Angelo, the Duke's deputy, who stands in for the Duke whilst he ostensibly goes off on a pilgrimage, enthusiastically endorses the sentence. In fact the Duke remains behind the scenes, watching Angelo as he falls for Claudio's sister Isabella, who comes to beg for her brother's life. Angelo is a wonderful creation, loathsome yet fascinating as he struggles with the double standards of his enforcement of draconian laws whilst lusting after the sister of the man he is prepared to execute, debating "The tempter or the tempted, who sins most?".

No one is spared Shakespeare's withering look at the mores of early 17th-century life, not even the pimps and madams who try to get by in the midst of the Duke's bizarre and coercive disguises and performances. The deeply ambiguous ending of Measure for Measure confirms it as one of Shakespeare's most ambivalent and arguably despairing plays. --Jerry Brotton

Review:

"Professor Bawcutt has produced an edition that should flourish in the classroom. The introduction is both thorough and user-friendly, while the notes consistently promote clear explication. Overall the edition is crisp, efficient, and illuminating."--Ronald J. Boling, Lyon College

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